How My 1 Year in Canada was Kick Arse

We all know it’s easier to sit on the sofa with Netflix than get up and go to the gym and get healthy. It’s no different when you are struggling to come up with what your achievements are, as it’s easy to admit failure rather than admit your triumphs.

I recently celebrated my one-year mark of living in Canada. It was a day I was excited to celebrate, but as it got closer I dreaded it. So I let it pass without so much of raising a glass to myself.

All I could do was reflect on my mental and emotional struggles, rather than tell myself ‘Girl you upheaved your life to the other side of the world and still alive to tell the tale’. I was constantly thinking, ‘What if?’ What if I stayed, would I be happy?

The thing about that ‘what if’ feeling when you think about your past is there is just no bloody point. We can’t change what has happened, as much as we want to.

So rather than focusing on what could have been, I decided to list some of my Kick Arse (I’m still not saying ass) moments of 2018.

Getting on a Plane

This was probably the toughest of all 2018 moments. It was going to be way easier for the time being for me to stay and carry on with my life as it was. Following your dreams are not always easy, but I still chose to take on the world, as I saw that leaving the country I grew up in and moving halfway across the world, was the only way I was going to better myself.

Staying Put

Within a day of living in my now lovely home tome of Invermere, I was looking up at flights back to the UK. I did not unpack my bags for 3 days as I was dead set on not staying where I was. Over the next month or so all I did was sleep, work and watch Netflix, the only time I would laugh would be at the comedy shows I forced myself to watch. Then my amazing friend Hayley, one day dragged me to the car rental, where we hired a car and drove to Calgary for a mini getaway. This was probably the best kick up the arse I received all year. Driving through Banff National Park with the frosty trees and snow-capped mountains. I fell in love. Without Hayley, would I have stayed? It doesn’t matter, as I am here now.

Working My Up

In a nutshell, I start out as a server, I move into the assistant manager position, and now I am a sales coordinator. All in the same hotel, same year. This isn’t me patting myself on the back; this is me just noticing the changes I made in myself over the year. Once realising that Invermere is now home to me, and in order for me to stay past my work visa, I would have to push myself career wise. So that’s what I did.

Being ok that everyone leaves

It can be very hard making friends outside of your work when you are somewhere knew, let alone a new country. I have been here a year and only just started meeting people that are not connected to my job. It is great meeting other travellers, as you can become friends almost overnight as you can relate more to each other. It sucks nonetheless as they do move on and leave to carry on seeing the world. Which is amazing, but for a while took its toll on me as I felt I was never going to have that companionship like I do with my friends back home. However I soon realised, as I was growing with my confidence, that this was just the way it was, and rather than backing away and stop making new friends, I would embrace the time I did have them. I had a grand time with some incredible people, and even though they have left, I know have several continents I can now visit!

Letting myself be myself

People used to tell me that when you travel ‘you find yourself’. Pffttt, ‘Bitch I know myself’. I did know myself yes, but maybe not as well as I thought. After years of wanting my nose pierced, but not being able to due to the ‘appearance’ I had to portray in the power suit world, one of the first things I did was get it done and it felt amazing just being able to do something I couldn’t before. I also wear the brightest dresses to work, and a good red dress is my trademark, so Ive been told! I have also learnt to become patient, calm, and try really hard not to stress out. (I know my new Canadian friends and colleagues will probably beg to differ, but they did not know the old me). I would get stressed and angry at someone if they walked the wrong side of the escalator on the tube, or incredibly annoyed if I had missed my train as the doors were closing, even though there was another one in 3 minutes. It’s not hard to be patient in a mountain town of 4000 people however. I know this sounds silly, but not getting wound up by standing in a queue for 20 minutes because the server forgot your coffee order, is a tiny victory.

As I was struggling with reflecting back on my year, a wise friend of mine told me to list an achievement for each month of 2018. I scoffed in his face naturally, but actually when I forced myself to think about it, it was quite easy to come up with something. So I challenge you to do the same, an achievement for every month, and I promise you it will be easier than you first think.

An Essex Thanksgiving

I have been away from home for a length of time now that I am blessed enough to have my friends from the UK want to come out and visit me.

First arrival, was Natalie, who flew into Calgary at the beginning of October, just in time to spend my first Thanksgiving with. Yes Canadians have Thanksgiving to, it’s a thing!

Some fun facts about Natalie and I:

  • We met by becoming roommates and renting a flat in South East London
  • She and I are both from Essex therefore bound together as soul sisters for life.

Thankfully for us, Canadians do not know the term ‘Essex Girl’.

  • We would host pretty epic cocktail and dinner parties for our friends and colleagues, and security was only called once
  • We drunk copious amounts of Prosecco resulting often in missing our last train home, or in my case sleeping until the end of the line.
  • That she is the No 1 fan of this blog, and kicked my arse big time for not writing anything all summer.

When planning what to do for the week Natalie was here, her request was simply ‘I just want to see a week in the life of Laura’.

Well obviously that would have been boring as fuck, so we actually went and did stuff.

Driving from the airport:

The one thing I asked Natalie to do was keep me awake by talking to me while driving; did she fuck. 30 minutes in, zzzzzzzzzz.

Well I guess the next 3 hours are me humming to myself. Half way through the drive I ran over a racoon, you know that would not have happened if you weren’t sleeping!

A weekend in Invermere:

Unfortunately I had to work the weekend when Nat first arrived, but that did not stop her from going out and wanting to explore the town. I did not have the heart to tell her it would only take her 25 minutes to see all there is to see. Nat did find our Kinsmen Beach, shortly followed by the pub. Naturally.

We did manage a night out at my local drinking hole Ullr, where I decided to make us do all the different shots we don’t get back in the UK. Our personal favourite, Burt Reynolds. Our heads were not great the next morning.

Road Trip Time:

First on my list was taking Natalie to Lake Louise, (After stopping at Tim Hortons of course for a double double) which even though is a massive tourist spot, still remains one of my favourite places to visit. It was great to see the sheer beauty of the Lake blowing her mind. Lots of insta worthy pictures were certainly taken.

We then went inside to the Fairmont for a cup of tea, but of course ordered a glass of Prosecco like the Essex Girls we are.

Next stop was Canmore. The guy that checked us in was English and I am pretty sure that’s why we got a special Thanksgiving treat of being upgraded to an epic Suite, which had a shower you could play the radio inside! (We could not work it out, but that is beside the point) We were due to go for dinner that evening, but decided to stay in, get pizza and drink Prosecco. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Hike Time:

The next day we went up to the Grassi Lakes Trail by The Three Sisters. Now this trail is not anything that is considered hard, but was covered in ice and snow, and as you can imagine, a tad challenging for someone like myself. Plenty of opportunities for Natalie to film my struggles. (Thanks mate). The view of Bow Valley at the top was breathtaking however!

Let’s stay an extra day:

Our 3 days away were not really long enough, in between us trying to do and see things while balancing with some chill time. So we booked another night to stay in Banff. I think by this point, the cold had started to get to Natalie, because as I pulled up to the Banff sign so she could have a picture, she just looked at me, ‘yeah no, I’m good’. All right love. We met up with my friend from work in the evening who took us on a bar crawl around the town. Don’t ask me what the bars are; I can only remember the first one! There was a bar which served free popcorn, but we just ended up throwing at each other. Classy Essex act. Probably something to do with the bottle of Prosecco we drunk at the beginning of the night.

Hangover Hike:

We had agreed we were all going to do the Stanley Glacier hike the next day, and even though our heads were pounding, we were still persistent to do it. Nothing a good breakfast and waiting 30 minutes for a soya latte can’t fix.

Major highlights of Natalie’s trip:

  • Nat eating cereal bars at every possible moment of the day. I even tried hiding them and she still found a way.

Natalie announcing she tries to follow a gluten and dairy free diet. (Would have been more believable if I had not just watch you demolish that pizza)

  • Watching her lose her marbles every time we turned a corner and saw a different view of the mountains.
  • Her jaw drop at the idea of a Tim Horton’s drive thru, (fast food coffee, what??) and getting hooked on double doubles
  • Getting incredibly drunk in Banff, eating McDonalds for the first time in 10 months, and watch Nat cry over the fact she ate all the chicken nuggets.
  • Buying her earrings for the 2nd time as a welcome to Canada gift, even though she does not have her ears pierced. ‘Laura!! This is the second time you have done this!’
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Thanks mate for always believing in me that I can follow my dreams, even when I don’t believe in them myself. Thanks for being nothing but supportive about my move to Canada and why I needed to do it. Thanks even more for coming here, seeing where I live and understanding why this is now my home. This post is for you and I promise to write more.

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Check out my previous posts in the links below! Winter is coming, which only means one thing, clumsy ice falling stories are back!

Snow to Sunshine – My 4 months in Canada

Hey you beautiful people, Ive missed you! Sorry for the long break, I have been busy trying to get my shit together. Which basically meant I wrote a lot of lists and occasionally completed them.

So what has happened in the last two months. Well the snow has melted and Summer is fully on its way. This means however I am not tripping over snow mounds and gliding along ice risking my life. Invermere is coming to life, restaurants are opening, flowers are blooming and Lake Windermere has thawed and is just stunning.

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Sparkly Lake Windermere

The scarf/coats/boots/jeans have all been ditched for, well nothing, as this was when I realised I did not pack for Summer. Improvising is certainly one thing I am getting good at for sure! (I did pack my Boots SPF30 sunscreen though, priorities)

One major change is that I have moved out of Staff accommodation! Woooooo! I have moved into a lovely little apartment where I do not have to share my bedroom, and somewhere I can call home. I have a little balcony and this is where I am sitting right now writing this in the sunshine.

One unexpected pleasure I have had so far of living in this apartment is my roommate. He is my friend/boss from work who needed a place to crash for a month or so. The only way I can sum up living with Aaron is “why were you not my roommate sooner”

Living with this guy, he has helped me with just some of the following:

  • After me moaning that the bathroom door doesnt lock, he showed me the weird Canandian way of pushing the handle in actually locks the door.
  • The houseplant I inherited was in fact real, not fake and that I had to water it
  • How to lock the front door without using your keys…
  • Marmite on toast topped with avocado is the most heavenly food combination ever.
  • He cleansed my room with white sage and I have had nothing but good nights sleep ever since. I had been struggling with my sleep when I moved in.

Aaron also got my ass to the gym and taught me how to do squats without falling backwards. Suprisingly, I struggle with my balance and topple over. NOT ANYMORE YO!

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Movie Night, the sofa wasn’t good enough.

Now he has to leave and move onto greater things, (something he most certainly deserves) and even though I am so happy for him, I am wondering how I am going to cope without him as you see he clearly saves me from myself. He has said he will phone to check in to make sure I have not set the flat on fire and made sure I watered the plants.

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Misbehaving at dinner

A planned pleasure of me moving into this apartment, is that my friend Hayley would be moving in to the apartment next door. When you live oceans away from everything and everyone you know, the friends you make here, become people you never want to let go. So as you can imagine I was super excited about being neighbours.

However, I would like to clarify one thing here. Hayley and I actually do not get on. If you were to listen to us, you would think we were about to start face slapping each other  In fact, many of the Canadians we work with often step in between us telling us to calm down and take 5. And because she and I are both dickheads, we make sure our arguing increases x100 when we around other collegues. I think they are getting used to it now…

Just some of the Pros of being neighbours:

  • I have a second wardrobe at my disposable and vice versa. Except my wardrobe is not ‘booby’ enough and ‘I need to sort that out’
  • Rough evening at work, both come home, change into pyjamas, have a drink and discuss that work really was not that bad
  • We both kick each to get out the house and do something. Which normally just involves drinking or eating.

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She got me

The odd Con:

  • We are so used to being neighbours we do not even knock when we come round. Except you can be changing at that time when she decides to walk in.
  • She is not allowed to go on holiday without leaving her keys anymore. I steal the WiFi and I could not reset it for a week. Most inconsiderate.

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In Hayley’s dress…

So I know I have not included any clumsy stories in this post, so heres a picture of me giving up on life after falling over for the sixth time when walking across Lake Louise back in April. Till next time guys!

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Give my recent posts a read too! –

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